All posts by Lily Clark

Innovative Smithsonian Research Summit Successfully Hosted by MSU School of Journalism

Posted on: February 27, 2017

JRN_Summit_1Global scholars, researchers and artists from the Smithsonian Latino Center, the technology industry, and academia came together on Feb. 23-24 for the 2017 Smithsonian Cultural Digi Summit. The global industry gathering was hosted by the MSU School of Journalism at the Immersive Media Studio in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

The annual summit brings together the world’s leading minds to share presentations, hands-on workshops with cutting edge technologies covering animation, virtual reality, mobile interaction, augmented reality and mixed realities. The emphasis was the use of groundbreaking technologies, many still in the confidential development stage, to represent the Latino Dance Project and Smithsonian Latino Collections.

The Latino Dance Project is collaboration between Smithsonian Latino Center, the MSU School of Journalism, and Latino dance ethnologists, cultural anthropologists and choreographers.

JRN_Simmit_2Industry summit participants included MSU School of Journalism strategic partners Noitom Perception Neuron, Reallusion, Viar360, Sinewave Entertainment, and Zappar. The Smithsonian Latino Center is also part of MSU Journalism’s growing partnership alliances in Immersive Journalism. Google made a special presentation to the group on “Humanizing Digital”.

Faculty from the Berklee College of Music, University of California-Riverside, and the MSU School of Journalism participated in the summit.

JRN_Summit_3“The MSU School of Journalism continues to redefine the field for the 21st century by being at the forefront of research and technology for Immersive Journalism,” said Michigan State Prof. Stacey Fox, who organized the summit and is the Animation, Mixed Realities and Immersive Worlds faculty leader in the School of Journalism. “We are excited, and thankful, to have such amazing strategic partners who are so generous with their knowledge and technology. They have donated over $645,000 of in-kind hardware and software to the School of Journalism for our students to utilize in their story production.”

The summit was sponsored by Target with Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

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MSU shifts into drive for the Auto Show in Detroit

Posted on: January 30, 2017

We’ve finally reached the point where autonomous vehicles are no longer a far-fetched idea of the future.

To kick off 2017, Michigan State University Spartans from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Business and Engineering made a name for themselves at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, showcasing the automotive research and work they’ve accomplished over the past year.

From advertising executives to auto engineers, see what MSU has to offer the auto industry:

MSU had two presentation booths: one showcased the sleek green and white Spartan autonomous research vehicle, while the other featured MSU’s award-winning Formula racer and team. Each booth charmed a mix of state, national and international media throughout the week.

ComArtSci had a presence at each booth and highlighted  the research the college is focused on related to the auto industry, including development with digital avatars, which seeks to help with self-driving cars.

While the College of Engineering has a noteworthy amount of direct ties to the auto industry, both ComArtSci and the Broad College of Business have valuable corporate partnerships and connections to the industry.

ComArtSci is teaching the advertising and public relations students and others how to represent and promote organizations. A lot of folks that work on major accounts in the auto industry have come from here.

During the week, the MSU North American International Auto Show Reception, an alumni and corporate partner event, was jointly hosted by ComArtSci, The Broad College of Business and the College of Engineering. 

The event highlighted the work that the various colleges are doing in the auto industry and Detroit.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon had the opportunity to speak at the reception and shared her enthusiasm for the growing number of MSU alumni and their impact on the world around them.

“Every place I go in the state is talent, talent, talent that needs to drive the future,” said Simon. “We have the largest number of Michigan undergraduates of any institution in the state (with) 30,000.”

Detroit, the auto industry and research to improve both are a continuously growing topic of interest for not only ComArtSci, but also Michigan State University.

To see more pictures from the NAIAS, click here.

By Lily Clark


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ComArtSci Connect Career Fair 2017

Posted on: January 13, 2017

unspecified-3Brush off your blazer and update your resume, it’s that time of the year again – ComArtSci Connect is right around the corner! On February 10th from 1:30 - 4 p.m., dozens of companies will make their way to the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to talk to prospective student interns.

According to Karin Hanson, ComArtSci’s Director of Employer Relations and Professional Transitions, “last year, 86 percent of students who attended reported they received a lead on a job or internship, and nearly all stated they felt more comfortable networking within their industry as a result of the event.”

Who will be there?

Big company names include: Auto-Owners Insurance Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit Public Television, Martin Waymire, Edge Partnerships, DISH Network, Target Corporation, Yelp – and more!

For a full list of the companies that will be in attendance, click here.

Hanson’s best tip is to be prepared by researching the employers ahead of time on Handshake to see how your skills match with the opportunities they’re offering.

Need help?

Get your resumes and cover letters reviewed by taking a trip to the ComArtSci Career Center in room 181 at the Communication Arts and Sciences building. The staff there will help you with everything from getting started on your internship or full-time job search, interview tips and strategies and even connect you with alumni in your field of interest.

Why go?

unspecified-4By attending ComArtSci Connect, not only are students learning about internship and job opportunities, they’re expanding their professional network beyond just MSU.

Michelai Graham, a journalism and media and information double major, discovered  City Pulse – Lansing’s alternative weekly newspaper and the company where she’d later intern – at ComArtSci Connect.

Alexis Dammar, senior advertising student, says she couldn’t have secured her spot at Optimedia, a New York City-based media buying agency, without the help of the ComArtSci Connect Career Fair.

Communication alumna Herasanna Richards obtained her internship with Martin Waymore in Lansing after networking at ComArtSci Connect.

Richards says, “It’s the best opportunity to have a face-to-face connection with employers that may turn into a long-lasting relationship and help you make huge leaps in your career.”

Anything else?

In addition to the career fair, there will be many opportunities for students to meet with professionals earlier in the week through guest lectures, resume reviews and workshops.

For more information about ComArtSci Connect, click here.

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Faculty member’s One Club connection brings opportunity for ComArtSci students

Posted on: December 14, 2016

Ross Chowles, ComArtSci professor of practice in the Department of Advertising + PR and One Club board member, began his relationship with Michigan State University when he led workshops at a One Club event in China. It was here when he met assistant professor Henry Brimmer, who brought students to the event and later ran a workshop at MSU for Minds Wide Open, which Chowles attended.

The One Club is a non-profit organization that serves to recognize and promote exceptional work in advertising. It honors and celebrates the legacies of creative advertising to inspire future generations.

“In the industry, especially in the creative side, there are those that stand out. People who’ve changed the industry, produced amazing work, written fantastic copy – the best of the best,” said Chowles. “The One Club has honored those people by inducting them into their hall of fame.”

The One Show, an annual award ceremony hosted by The One Club, showcases the best work from agencies around the world. It isn’t profit oriented, it’s owned by the creative community.

“It’s our thing, it belongs to us – the creatives,” Chowles said.130_ross_chowles

“What we want to do is take all of these great hall of famers and start linking the One Show so when you think of the One Show, you don’t just think of awards, you’re thinking of Steve Jobs or Andy Warhol,” Chowles said. “These people are the rock stars in our business.”

The strategy is simple: association.

To execute this, Chowles, with other ComArtSci faculty, handpicked around 20 senior student copywriters and designers. Once their holding concept – the idea that ties it all together – is approved, they will start developing and designing.

Students were chosen after determining the skills needed to tackle this project - keen copywriters and skilled designers with attention to detail. Their primary task is to research The One Club “Hall of Famers” by contacting agencies, finding their advertising work and more.

The end goal of this project is to produce a digital book that highlights the Hall of Famers, and is easily accessible to copywriters located anywhere in the world.

“Once it’s finished, it’ll go to every art director and copywriter – the most cynical people in the world. So, it has to be of a quality that is superior,” Chowles said.

One Show’s creative week happens in May in New York, which is where ComArtSci’s work will be launched.

By Lily Clark

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New research explains the roles of social media communicators in organizational settings

Posted on: December 2, 2016

In modern day organizations, social media tools enable companies to gather and disseminate information, engage with their audience and create relationships with multiple communities.

Companies are hiring social media communicators to represent their organization, interact with the public, and speak and publish on behalf of the company due to its newfound necessity.

To understand the roles of social media communicators (SMC) in organizational communication efforts, Serena Carpenter Ph.D, assistant professor of Journalism Innovations in MSU’s School of Journalism, and Alisa Lertpratchya M.A., a doctoral student in MSU’s AD + PR department, applied a variety of research methods.

“I am fascinated with how people working within innovative roles navigate that role,” said Carpenter. “The internet and other new technologies have led to a number of workers working in newly created roles.”

Exploring roles

The first study conducted by Carpenter and Lertpratchya explored role stressors associated with SMCs and how they handled job stress in this recently created position. The purpose of the study was to assess how people holding innovative roles learn and navigate the responsibilities of often ill-defined jobs.

Carpenter and Lertpratchya drew results from qualitative interviews that investigated how this digital workforce contributes to the organization when their role is not well understood.

The interviews revealed that SMCs did not experience conflict as a result of leadership holding multiple expectations of them. Instead, a large portion of SMCs experienced role ambiguity because management and coworkers did not fully understand what they did for the organization.

As a result, SMCs used several tactics and resources for guidance in learning more about their responsibilities. Results showed SMCs navigated the ambiguity by turning to search engines to get questions answered, having a mentor, networking, participating in seminars and training sessions and more.

“In the digital media environment, social media communicators addressed ambiguity by banding together with outside social media experts to help each other advance within their own organizations.” said Carpenter.

While jobs varied for SMCs involved in the study, SMCs overall saw the ambiguity of their role as empowering rather than stressful. In their respective companies, SMCs were regarded as experts because of their ability to use social media to improve campaign efforts, relationships and other communication tactics.

The study concludes that knowledge workers, or SMCs, must regularly learn and share their expertise to manage role ambiguity. But as a whole, the study deduced that social media communicators were not only adept and personable, they were digitally literate and self reliant, too.

Expanding understanding

Carpenter and Lertpratchya conducted a second study to create and define a set of social media communicator roles, leading to the creation of a measure that illuminates what these employees do within an organization.

“The study specifies the various functions of their position,” said Carpenter. “People working in such positions can better understand their job responsibilities and leadership can better understand how to manage digital media workers.”

To understand social media communicator roles, 10 SMCs were interviewed and asked 10 multi-part questions. Following the interviews, the researchers received feedback from social media experts that assessed validity and evaluated their scale. Additionally, Carpenter and Lertpratchya administered a pretest to eight professional communicators and surveyed experts to assess and adjust their questionnaire structure.

As a final step, the two researchers conducted a quantitative survey to professionals under the SMC role.

Roles is a sociological concept, and roles aid social scientists in understanding how multiple publics such as management, colleagues, audiences, and other social media experts influence how they define their role,” said Carpenter.

Defining these roles can help inform those unfamiliar with the various roles and responsibilities of SMCs. The results of this study showed five common general behaviors that describe the roles of SMCs: customer service provider, mobilizer, information disseminator, researcher and community builder.

Read more about the stressors associated with SMCs and the various roles of SMCs through a scale.

By Lily Clark

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MSU Advertising alum holds a sweet and savory position with Frito-Lay

Posted on: November 28, 2016

Chris Kuechenmeister graduated from the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences in 1995 with a bachelor’s in advertising and a specialization in public relations. After spending his early career in agencies working with clients on corporate reputation and brand building projects, Kuechenmeister found his place with Frito-Lay, a sector of PepsiCo. Stationed in Dallas, he has been with Frito-Lay for 8 years, serving as the vice president of communications for the last two and a half years.

Before his current position, Kuechenmeister worked in Detroit in agencies that served the auto industry. He spent a few years in North and South Carolina agencies, as well as in a corporate communications role with Michelin. His last stop before Dallas was Los Angeles, where he spent six years working on the agency side of the industry.

“I feel the diversity of roles, responsibilities and work settings I’ve had helped prepare me for my current role,” said Kuechenmeister. “Having a multi-disciplined background provides a helpful foundation for the various twists and turns this career brings.”

Kuechenmeister says he has always been very open to new opportunities – a mindset that has helped advance his career. He says he aims to grow with each challenge.kuechenmeister-1

“When there are bumps in the road–which always come–I do my best to learn from each situation and apply it to my future,” said Kuechenmeister.

As the VP of Communications for Frito-Lay North America, he leads a team that manages all internal and external communications for the company, including external media relations for 30-plus brands, internal communications with 55,000 associates, community relations and more.

His fast-paced job also includes day-to-day tasks that vary from managing new product launches to generating media coverage.

“The variety keeps things interesting and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Kuechenmeister.

Since PepsiCo is a globally recognized organization, Kuechenmeister says, “the possibilities from a communications standpoint are endless.”

He works his hardest to remain thoughtful and structured while immersed in a leadership position that continually presents unforgettable opportunities.

Kuechenmeister says he has had many memorable experiences, but the best are those when he and his team can have a positive impact on the lives of consumers. One of these memorable experiences was during the Tostitos sponsored Fiesta Bowl.

“The brand‘s positioning was all around bringing people together to share memorable experiences, and we created a surprise reunion for some members of the military stationed in Iraq with their families back in the states,” said Kuechenmeister. “These families had been apart for several months and being involved with them reuniting was pretty special.”

Kuechenmeister continues to be inspired by his organization and all the people in it. And as a consumer, Kuechenmeister says his favorite Frito-Lay product is Wasabi Ginger Lay’s Kettle Cooked Potato Chips.

“The people at Frito-Lay and PepsiCo are committed to doing the best work they can - providing great products for our consumers and supporting our fellow associates all along the way,” he said. “It creates a high-performance atmosphere and the feeling that you can achieve your true potential.”

By Lily Clark

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East Lansing Film Festival to showcase ComArtSci films

Posted on: October 28, 2016

The 2016 East Lansing Film Festival is right around the corner and you can catch five ComArtSci produced films during the event From November 3 - 10, Wells Hall and Studio C! Meridian Mall Theater will show independent films from places around the world and in the Michigan region.

The film festival aims to enrich the culture and diversity in Michigan communities as well as promoting and exhibiting filmmaking in the Michigan region.

MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ films featured in the festival include:

“That Strange Summer”

Directed by Geri Alumit Zeldes, “That Strange Summer” shares a story from the summer of 1975 when 27 patients experienced respiratory failure, while at the same time, 11 died at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Ann Arbor. Post FBI investigation in 1976, two nurses were charged with injecting patients with Pavulon, a muscle relaxer. But, were they guilty?

This thrilling feature will be shown Saturday, November 5, 3:30 p.m., Wells Hall.

“Sorta Late”for-realz

The students of MSU’s College of ComArtSci, the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Music came together to produce the film “Sorta Late”. It tells the story of interns tackling the inner workings of a Late Night show in Detroit. When two local celebrities compete to be host, the interns get a taste of reality about the world of entertainment.

To watch the film that was worked on by more than 100 students, it will be shown Friday, November 4, 9:15 p.m., Wells Hall.

“Living History”

Zeldes directed a second feature called “Living History”. This short film is comprised of nearly a dozen interviews of Michigan’s oldest residents, offering a unique look into our state’s cultural history.

The documentary will be shown Friday, November 4, 7:00 p.m., Wells Hall.

“From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City”from_flint

Completely student produced, “From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City” is an Elise Conklin directorial debut that shares the story of the Flint Water Crisis from a first-hand perspective.

This film won a Student Academy Award and will be shown on Saturday, November 5, 9:00 pm, Wells Hall.

"Beyond Bollywood: Behind the Scenes"

Directed by Amol Pavangadker, this 28 minute short film examines the pre-, post-, and production aspects of the Bollywood-style short film. Following the annual study abroad trip to India, the film covers the experiences of students who went on the trip, learned about the Bollywood culture, and even created a music video of their own. The film will include post-trip interviews and reflections back on the process.

For the full schedule of featured films with times and locations, click here.

By Lily Clark

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The (Virtual) Reality of the Meaningful 2016 Play Conference

Posted on: October 27, 2016

The Meaningful Play 2016 Conference ended as a huge success. The event spanned from October 20-22, with most of the activities taking place in MSU’s Union. The Department of Media and Information (specifically their GameDev faculty, staff, and students) is the proud founder and host of this event, which takes place every two years.

Geared toward gaming industry professionals, those in the world of academia and game researchers and developers, the event created an environment where attendees could come together to share and showcase their ideas. The goal of the conference is to decipher and improve upon the gaming community to influence the world in meaningful ways.img_1020edit

MSU alum and game developer, Xavier Durand-Hollis, shared how a large portion of this year’s conference revolved around the hot trend in the gaming world, virtual reality.

“Many speakers presented on the new gameplay experiences that augmented reality and virtual reality platforms offer, and what that means going forward for serious and non-serious games alike,” said Durand-Hollis.

Elizabeth LaPensée, assistant professor of Media and Information at MSU, was featured as a keynote speaker at the conference. As an Anishinaabe, Metis and Irish game developer and researcher, she offered a unique perspective to the conference.

LaPensée found the most beneficial aspect of the event to be “The convergence of academics, developers, and experts in many different areas makes Meaningful Play an exciting opportunity to reflect on your own work, better understand the role of playful experiences ranging from games of all forms to virtual reality, and connect for collaborations.”

Durand-Hollis added to this idea by saying how the conference always leaves him with a lingering desire to go out and make something, specifically directed toward developing for virtual reality.

Game designers and more gathered for the 5th annual Meaningful Play Conference at Michigan State University.

Game designers and more gathered for the 5th annual Meaningful Play Conference at Michigan State University.

The program coordinator of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology at MSU, Liz Owens Boltz, a second time attendee, revealed that Meaningful Play is one of the most inclusive conferences she has attended, with the organizers and participants remaining mindful of and encouraging diversity.

“Some of the best things about Meaningful Play are its scope and audience. Sessions tend to cross interdisciplinary boundaries and therefore encourage attendees to think outside of our traditional domains,” said Boltz.

While some attendees favored game exhibitions, Boltz loved the environment that so easily allowed her to meet, collaborate and learn with a group of talented and diverse people.

The conference draws in those in the world of academia and industry professionals on a global scale. The last conference attracted nearly 300 people from 17 countries and 24 U.S. States.

Despite this year’s Meaningful Play festivities having drawn to a close, MSU, the founder of the event, is proud to continue to host and encourage such an impactful conference.

By Lily Clark

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Fifth Meaningful Play 2016 Conference to be held and hosted by MSU

Posted on: October 11, 2016

The Meaningful Play 2016 Conference is one of theory, research, game design innovations, principles and practices. Michigan State University is the founder and host of Meaningful Play, which happens every two years, with this year being the fifth installment of the conference.

Meaningful Play creates an environment where scholars and industry professionals can come together to decipher and improve upon the gaming community to charm, inform, and influence the world in meaningful ways.

The conference is geared toward industry and academic game researchers, designers, and developers, as well as game educators, government and non-governmental organizations interested in games, and students.

This year’s Meaningful Play is focused around two main themes: the first theme examines games from a research perspective, considering meaningful applications of games. The second theme delves into issues around designing meaningful play, which focuses on more of the practical knowledge.

This conference successfully engages those in the world of academia, professionals in the industry, and students on a global scale. The last Meaningful Play conference in 2014 attracted nearly 300 people from 17 counties and 24 U.S. States.

People interested in attending the conference can register up until the opening of the conference on Thursday, October 20.

The Meaningful Play conference runs from October 20-22 on Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing, MI, with most of the activities taking place in the MSU Union.

For more information about the event, check out their website.


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Sports Journalism students help Big Ten Network put on a pregame show

Posted on: October 5, 2016

While Michigan State University football players were preparing to play Wisconsin on September 24th, 10 sports journalism students worked with FOX Sports and the Big Ten Network (BTN) to prepare for the BTN tailgate.

MSU Sports Journalist in Residence Joanne Gerstner was the first to find out about the opportunity for student participation in the event and let JRN 418 students, the Sports Journalism Study Abroad group, and members of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) know about the opportunity.

The event was BTN’s first time at MSU with their new live show. Similar to ESPN’s “College GameDay,” the BTN Tailgate served as a pregame show, featuring Tom Izzo, interviews with MSU coaches and more.file4

The students were responsible for raising awareness of the event and getting tailgaters to go to the BTN tailgate. Their methods included traveling from tailgate to tailgate on gameday to inform people of the events taking place -- most importantly, the BTN live show.

Kacy Kobakof, a senior journalism student, said her favorite part of the opportunity was “seeing the behind the scenes effort and then watching the live show come together. When we got there, people were still setting up, but by 10:30 a.m., the whole area was packed.”

Students involved in the event agreed that working under the BTN Network was a great opportunity for sports journalism students, as it’s a highly accredited network.

“All of the journalism students want to someday be the people we were working with, which made it a valuable opportunity,” said Kobakof. “A lot of what we learn in class is different from the real world, so getting the real world experience was pretty cool.”

Laurel Young, a senior journalism student, agreed saying, “I think it's always a great opportunity to help a large outlet like BTN; you get new experiences and meet new people that can help you.”

Both Kobakof and Young are active members in AWSM. The organization, they said, brought them many opportunities, including having a panel at the Detroit Red Wings and the Pistons offices. Each week, professionals in the field speak at their meetings to discuss their job and how they got to the point they’re at in their career.

“AWSM has been invaluable to me and everyone who has been a part of it. I've learned so much and met so many talented women through it,” said Young.

file3Kobakof's best advice to those interested in sports journalism and the media is to reach out to professionals and ask for 10 minutes of their time to learn about what they do rather than simply inquiring about job opportunities.

Young piggybacked saying, “Get as much experience as you can, whether it’s volunteering, an internship, or simply networking.”

While BTN will only host one pregame tailgate for the football season, Young, Kobakof and other AWSM members can be sure the unforgettable opportunities won’t stop there.

By Lily Clark


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